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Group Night Riding? Good idea or bad?

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Group Night Riding? Good idea or bad?

Old 08-16-10, 10:57 AM
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Group Night Riding? Good idea or bad?

I really enjoy riding in a group with my local club. I find I can push myself more with faster riders, and also enjoy the camaraderie.

The "problem" is that due to my work and family obligations, I am only able to do 1 or 2 group rides/week. Any additional rides would have to be at night.

I have done some night commuting, and have a decent light setup. But I am wondering if there is any value in group rides at night. Has anyone tried this? I am not sure if it is a good idea, trying to do pacelines in the dark, but I am willing to try it.

Any thoughts or experience?
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Old 08-16-10, 11:06 AM
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If you use a helmet mounted light, just be careful about shining it in your fellow riders face.

We do groups that start at 5am and Spring and Fall it is dark for the first 1/2hr+ of the ride. No issues, the roads are usually pretty quiet at that hour, and in a group, you are fairly well lit up, so much more visible than if riding solo.

Some of us wear those dorky reflective triangle things that tie on your back. They are very visible to cars approaching from behind.

Edit: Can't speak enough for morning riding: especially guys with families and afternoon/evening obligations. I can easily get in 50 miles and be home before the kids are off to school. Just a question of how early you want to get up.
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Old 08-16-10, 11:08 AM
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I have not ridden in groups at night. I have ridden alone though. It's hard to find other people who are willing to buy lights and go out at night I think. After you've heard deer skipping across the road in front of you daylight seems a lot better. I have similar work and family obligations that are making me look at early morning riding.
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Old 08-16-10, 11:12 AM
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Group riding at night...thats funny.
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Old 08-16-10, 11:14 AM
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The randonneuring people get into that sometimes. Not that they intentionally plan group rides at night, but if they happen to be riding in a group and it's dark, there you go. From a vehicle perspective, it may be safer than riding alone at night. And a bunch of bikes with lights and reflective gear looks cool at night.
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Old 08-16-10, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by surgeonstone View Post
Group riding at night...thats funny.
Not trying to be funny. I am serious, at least this time I am.
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Old 08-16-10, 11:25 AM
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I have yet to master my fear of riding at night.

There are way too many hills here with roads that look like a 13 year old's face.
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Old 08-16-10, 11:26 AM
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There's a group near here that does a ride at 6:00 or so in the winter around Stone Mountain, but its a huge park and the roads are well lit.
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Old 08-16-10, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
Group Night Riding? Good idea or bad?
Good idea.
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Old 08-16-10, 11:35 AM
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I ride at night a lot, more than during the day... the only way I can find time to ride for 2 hours plus with a 11 week old baby and my own business is usually after midnight! The problems that I have currently are animals running across the road and fear of hitting them, which could be a real problem, and that I can descend faster than my light allows, especially when the hills have sharp turns (bike mounted light) the bottom line is that my average speed is lower at night, despite not having to ever wait for traffic, because I brake a bit down hill and when I see animals in the road.

The problem that I dont have yet, but perceive, is drunk drivers and general hooliganism that increases at night.

I use a magicshine light, which is great, but the indicator turns red after about 2:15, so I limit my rides to 2:30 or so for fear of being in the dark.

The hardest part of a group ride will be finding like minded people... most people think I am crazy, but it works for me.
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Old 08-16-10, 11:44 AM
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We group night ride all the time. In the fall our group rides switch to riding gravel/level B roads. We nearly always come back in in the dark and one night a week we don't start the ride until it gets dark. Anywhere from 10-25 people.

Bar mounted works the best, so you aren't blinding people when you look around. A good 200 lumen is about the minimum I'd use if it were really dark out, although I've used some pretty crappy lights when I first started out.... like a cheapie headlamp zip-tied to my bar! It worked... but being able to see is always a plus

The geoman lights are awesome for the money.
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Old 08-16-10, 11:52 AM
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I did a weekly city night ride for years with a group of 6-12 riders. We rode year round. You want a handlebar mount to shine on the potholes and a helmet mount to shine on the potheads. I miss those rides.
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Old 08-16-10, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by surgeonstone View Post
Group riding at night...thats funny.
It is fun. We rode at night to beat the heat.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNL16...eature=related
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Old 08-16-10, 12:02 PM
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There's a group that does midnight races around Green Lake; I haven't done one of these yet. It's been going on for years.
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Old 08-16-10, 12:24 PM
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I ride with a small group (2-3) on MWF mornings...we meet at 4:45 am and it is by far some of the most fun rides I go on. We all have lights on the handlebars and we don't try to kill each other but we can still get 25-30 miles in and make it to work on time.

I also ride on Tuesday and Thursdays at night and usually by myself. I can't take the same route as the MWF trip because of traffic.

It is just hard to juggle 4 kids, a wife, a job and running...oh yeah and biking.
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Old 08-16-10, 12:44 PM
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I've done it on rides that are a bit slower than standard roadie fare and usually it's on trails. I think the main thing is to drop the pace a bit and give yourself more space. I'm not sure drafting is such a great idea, but maybe it works out okay. For me dark group rides are a late fall and winter thing. So you're going slower and allowing more space anyway to deal with the sketchier road surfaces.

And, as others have said, helmet mount lights require care and etiquette.
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Old 08-16-10, 12:55 PM
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During the winter thereís a fast (i.e. pretty much race pace) group ride near Orlando International Airport every Wed. night which can attract 50 or more riders (many of them local racers). Itís on a divided highway which is well lit and pretty quiet. Iím not aware that there have been any more or less accidents on that ride than any of the other numerous group rides around here.
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Old 08-16-10, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
The randonneuring people get into that sometimes. Not that they intentionally plan group rides at night, but if they happen to be riding in a group and it's dark, there you go. From a vehicle perspective, it may be safer than riding alone at night. And a bunch of bikes with lights and reflective gear looks cool at night.
This is the only scenario that I have encountered personally, on long brevets, you end up riding at night....often in a group. One, it's more fun and easier psychologically, and two, it is most likely safer as stated.
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Old 08-16-10, 02:11 PM
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I have curtailed my commuting at night due to the number of incidents with drunk college students (harassement and being shot at by blow darts) and wildlife (pit bulls, foxes, bears). I would feel much safer in a well-lit group (not like the college students) and agree that it is safer than riding alone.
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Old 08-16-10, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
It is fun. We rode at night to beat the heat.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNL16...eature=related
Nice Clip....and the food shots at the end, Rich would approve!
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Old 08-16-10, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
Not trying to be funny. I am serious, at least this time I am.
I must confess the last 20 minutes of last nights ride was quite dark in the forested areas, have a taillight for such occasions. I must say though I do not care for it much. Little visability, blinding headlights, it just seems a recipe for disaster.
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Old 08-16-10, 03:10 PM
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Good head light(s)
Reflective clothing
Rear LED set to NOT BLINK

Other than that its a good idea
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Old 08-16-10, 03:20 PM
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I've done a lot of fall and winter rides that were mostly in the dark. A fairly flat ride works best, since downhills are tricky at night with a group. Many riders don't have bright enough lights for a fast downhill, anyway.

A really bright light behind the pack leaders is a problem, since the front riders just see long wavering shadows in front of them (unless their lights are equally bright). In the middle of the pack, it's best to dim, or at least point the bright lights downward. After all, you are only lighting the next 10 feet or so. And don't set the headlights to blink, thanks!

Switching bright rear blinkies to steady is better for the following riders. Dim ones don't matter.

Streets with streetlights are good. And the pack leaders don't have as much lead time to avoid potholes or other problems if they just depend on their headlights. Our winter rides are mostly urban, and it works out great.

Riding on unlit MUPs in a group at night is dangerous. It's hard to see walkers in dark clothing, and oncoming bike riders will blind each other. So stay on the streets, or slow way down.

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Old 08-16-10, 03:23 PM
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I'm all for group night rides!! Like has already been said, just be mindful of were it is that you point your lights.

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Old 08-16-10, 03:31 PM
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Thanks for the responses. I will try posting a night-time ride with my club and see how it goes.
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